2014 Pivotal For Medical Marijuana In Ohio - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

2014 Pivotal For Medical Marijuana In Ohio

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The New Year will bring with it many new laws. In Colorado, the first legal marijuana retailers open their doors for business, making them the first in the world to be licensed by the state.

In Ohio, Ohio Rights Group, or ORG, is currently gathering signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2014.

The ballot language was approved in May. ORG needs to gather 385,000 valid voter signatures, including 5 percent of voters from half of Ohio's 88 counties.

Vice President Mary Jane Borden told NBC4 public opinion of medical marijuana has changed since Proposition 215 passed in California in 1996.

"We started seeing what happened in these states where cannabis, where people had legal access. Albeit, patients with certain medical conditions. But the say the sky didn't fall, "said Borden.

And ORG may have the numbers to support their views.

An Associated Press poll found that in 1990, 81% of Americans opposed making pot legal. Just 16% supported it. IN 2000, 61% opposed, while 31% were in favor. And then in 2013, 52% favor legalizing marijuana, while 45% oppose it.

ORG released the following image, demonstrating their campaign in favor of medical marijuana on the ballot.



Opponents of the amendment, groups like Drug Free Action Alliance, say making marijuana legal for medical use would create problems in the workplace. Executive Director Marcie Seidel also said it jeopardizes the lives of young people. She said since Colorado made it legal in 2006, traffic fatalities where the driver had marijuana in their system, have more than doubled.

"Smoked marijuana in its raw state is not medicine. And I think it can be very dangerous for us to vote as individuals for something that we don't know anything about. What will the long term affects of this we. We don't know. We don't have the research," said Seidel.

Both sides of this issue agree the outcome could be a game changer. As goes Ohio, so does the nation.

ORG has until early July 2014 collect the required signatures to get the issue on the November ballot.  

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